When asked to describe TedCas, the health-tech company he founded to ease access to and handling of medical information in surgical environments, Pérez-Llano has a pat answer in hand. "I tell people, 'We're kind of like Minority Report, even though I don't look much like Tom Cruise,' " he says with a laugh. Pérez-Llano is referring to the 2002 Steven Spielberg-helmed sci-fi flick in which Cruise plays a futuristic police officer of some vague sort—and specifically, to the techno-future the film envisions, one in which nearly every door and device can be controlled via swipes of the hand. That is what TedCas brings to the operating room, sort of.
Let Pérez-Llano explain: "What we do is allow doctors to control any kind of computer with voice comments and hand and finger movements through the air. They don't have to ask any other person to help. They don't have to scrub out and leave the OR." As such, the TedCas technology is a natural in any environment in which aseptic conditions are a must. The problem? Operating-room protocols and procedures vary wildly from one hospital or surgical center to the next: A sensor or device that might work for a trauma surgeon might not meet the needs of an ophthalmic surgeon. Given that TedCas has global ambitions, standardizing the technology for use by a wide range of surgeons would appear to be the biggest obstacle to surmount.
Nonetheless, the TedCas technology is already being used in operating rooms in Spain, France, Italy and Germany, plus Pérez-Llano says the company has deployed units to the Surgery Center of Indianapolis and the University of California, San Francisco. The key to future growth, he believes, is getting face time with surgeons and letting them test-drive the technology for themselves. "Once that happens, and once they see how easy it is to use, they're like, 'I want it,' " he says. "We also have to learn how to speak the right language to the people who are paying for it. Hopefully they'll see the same thing in us that the surgeons have seen." —Larry Dobrow